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i'm craig melvin in for tamron hall on this friday. following developing news. we are just an hour away now from the late es effort to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. the three-way stare down between the white house, the senate, the congress moves to pennsylvania avenue. president obama meeting behind closed doors with house speaker boehner, senate majority leader harry reid and senate minority leader mitch mcconnell talking about doing something to keep more than trillion dollars in tax increases and cuts from taking effect next week. also joining that party today, america's happy warrior. vice president joe biden will be there. while some appear ready to compromise others are still ducking, dodging, trying to dump the blame elsewhere.
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>> we all have our ideas and in the senate, you're right. we probably another 40, 50, 60 of saying that we're ready to both raise revenues and control entitlements. when's the missing ingredient? it is presidential leadership. >> i think in the end we'll get a deal. the question is the timing. >> am hopeful there will be a deal that avoids the worst parts of the fiscal cliff, namely taxes going up on middle class people. >> it's pretty apparent that we are not going to do what we've been called to do. this is 112th congress. we have had two years to deal with quote the fiscal cliff. >> let's bring in our man at the white house, peter alexander standing by. pete, we just got word the president it appears is making some sort of smaller offer at this 3:00 meeting. any idea what smaller might mean? >> reporter: it's a good question, craig. actually kelly o'donnell reporting some more of this from
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the hill. she says that income level of $400,000 that the president had more recently offered as the place beneath which he wanted to make sure there was an extension of the bush era tax cuts according to kelly not a part of this plan. democrats say that offer for the president which represented a compromise that we had heard about last week as part of a bigger proposal is not a part of the plan to be discussed behind closed doors. only a short time from now. the real question is where that number will be. not the $250,000 you presumed that republicans balked at long ago. perhaps closer to $500,000. given the fact that house speaker john boehner couldn't get his own conference to pass tax cuts for those making less than $1 million, it seems like it's still a tough drag for all those behind closed doors a short time from now. we saw the vice president joe biden arriving here in the white house within the last ten
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minutes or so. one attendee as it were. the other four top lawmakers from the capitol hill expected a short time from now. >> there doesn't appear to be new information to be revealed at the meeting. they have all heard what the other folks at the table have said time and time again. so, what do we expect to come out of this thing? >> reporter: it's a good question. frankly, i think we are all just going to have to wait outside the doors and find out what happens after the fact, hearing from the lawmakers inside, whether the president comes out and makes any statement of any sort. but the fact of the matter is a lot of the conversations to this point have been cryptic, behind the scenes by senior staff members on the republican and democratic sides right now. so what they come to in terms of presentations and proposals on either side, at this point, we don't know. the white house is certainly ret cent to share the details publicly saying this is not something to publicly litigate or legislate. it's something to get done
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amongst themselves. but the white house, craig, throughout has effectively stuck to its guns and said they believe if mitch mcconnell allowed a vote in the senate and john boehner allowed one in the house that they would be able to get the initial plan passed. >> peter, thanks. we know everyone's taxes are going up if congress fails to reach a deal. here's the breakdown here. incomes under $20,000 will get hit with a $400 tax hike. between $20,000 and $40,000, more than 1,200 more. $40,000 of $65,000, $1,900 and between $65,000 and $108,000, expect to pay $3,500 more in taxes and anything above that, uncle sam's going to take more than $14,000. joining me to talk about this, congressman yarmuth of kentucky.
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you are due back in washington sunday we're told. what will you tell your constituents if they're subject to those tax hikes that i just showed? >> well, i'm going to tell them what i've been saying and that is that unfortunately we have a republican majority in the house that doesn't believe in raising taxes on anyone, no matter how well think they may be. and really, is not interested in a balanced approach to deficit reduction. it's been pretty clear that that's the story we have been telling and it happens to be the truth. >> i understand that two of colleagues proposed cuts to medicare for a hike in the debt ceiling. what do you make of that offer? >> i think one of the things that people don't realize is that it's a dirty little secret. the republicans don't want to cut the things that americans want cut. and they want to cut things that americans don't want cut.
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poll after poll shown americans do not want deficit reduction done by cutting medicare and medicare and social security. so they propose and saw the same scenario when paul ryan put the budget out and because the american people rejected the kind of draconian cuts that the republicans want to make so, you know, that's a nonstarter in the senate. i think it's a nonstarter with the president. sure can pass the house but going nowhere past that. >> the smaller offer we hear that the president is making at 3:00, to congressional leadership, what kind of offer would you like to see the president make? >> well, there was some rumblings i think an hour ago that there was a -- something brewing i think in the senate that had a $400,000 threshold, that was i think a ten-year duration and also dealt with unemployment benefits and kept
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the estate tax from going back to 55% with a small exemption. i think that's the deal that democrats in the house would overwhelmingly support. i think the president would probably go along with that. again, the only question then would be whether speaker boehner allows that plan to come to the house floor knowing it wouldn't get a majority of republican votes. >> the plan that you mentioned, what does it do to medicare? >> i don't think it does anything to medicare and basically kick the can down the road a few months and hope that we can get a -- i think it actually forestalls the sequester as i understand it so there's no across the board spending cuts going in to effect on january 1st so that would basically save medicare any cuts but leave it to be negotiated another day. >> sounds like you have resigned yourself to it being kicked down the road again. >> i think so. i don't see how any deal is made unless speaker boehner decides willing to get 20, 30
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republicans to go along with the democratic minority and create a majority to pass something like the plan i talked about. that's the only way it happens before january 1st. >> kentucky congressman john r yarmouth, safe travels. >> and now our guests. gentlemen, good afternoon to both of you. leaders right now, right now, michael sheer, we understand, preparing to meet behind closed doors at the white house. some optimistic. many are not. how do you feel about this quote smaller deal that the president is set to offer? >> well, so far, you know, as peter alexander said, we don't know the contours of what they will discuss. there's reports earlier in the afternoon that it would have the $400,000 threshold. the white house has denied that that's what's on the table and i think some reporting suggest maybe it's not.
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you know, i think what they're trying to do, they have all recognized that a big grand compromise is not going to be reached before the fiscal cliff deadline and trying to figure out some way this they can skip passed that deadline without the consequences kicking in. >> there's a narrative that's beginning to take hold that folks prefer to see -- in both parties, prefer to see us go off the so-called fiscal cliff. nate silver in "the new york times" and putting up a quote here, this is just an excerpt. most members of the house now come from hyper partisan districts with no threat of losing to the other party. vice president of the heritage foundation telling the national journal, quote, when everybody goes back home, i don't think they're feeling the heat from their constituents for failing to reach an agreement. if anything, hearing the opposite. this is vice president of the heritage foundation. is there an incentive for house republicans to compromise or senate republicans? is there an incentive for the
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gop? >> no political incentive for this and now seeing it. there's a lot of hype and seeing the end game here and if you're not angry, you are not paying attention. i spoke to a senator saying there could be a small deal. mr. shear is shorting to the similar thing and the bottom line is this was built on a threat for the debt ceiling 514 days ago and the idea was we're going to have automatic cuts that hurt americans so much we'll have to cut a deal. they said that openly. i'm not paraphrasing. that's not rhetoric. here we are. okay? it's the end of the week. we're going in to new year's and what do we have? bob corker got up today, senator, republican, senior guy now on this issue. and what does he say? we may not get a deal and we're going to threaten the good faith and credit of the united states again. okay? 514 days and what do we get? more debt ceiling threats and the irony is you talk about the
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pressure but the irony is republican base on wall street thinks that's a terrible idea. so what does the president have to do? something that's uncomfortable for him because he's more responsible than these guys and say i care so much about a deal to negotiate with myself. i'm going to give it up and still threatening me and i think he has to take an maxim from donald rumsfeld, weakness is provocative. tell them we're strong, the white house, we were re-elected. you go home. you go home and deal with it because this is out of control and nobody's angry enough to realize it. >> you're angry enough. >> i'm alone. >> no, you're not. >> michael shear's not angry. he's measured and i understand that and we're playing different roles sometimes but if you're a reporter and following this and following this for a year or two, some point you have to say this is insanity and the threat to the economy is not a reasonable way to govern. >> mike, how -- again, not to oversimplify this thing, but how did we get here?
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i think most folks following this fairly closely assumed that as is the case with a lot of things in washington, d.c. that at the 11th hour withere will ba deal that gets done. there are a lot of folks involved in the deal making saying, it won't happen this time. >> well, look. i think ari is right in one real respect which is they set this up, you know, more than a year ago as a way of trying to provide counter pressure to the political pressures that exist across the board on all of these lawmakers and these individual districts. they thought that the pressure, the scare tactic that they put on themselves of deep defense cuts on the one side and deep cuts to domestic programs on the other side forces everybody to the table. it clearly turned out that in the wake of the election we had, the pressures in their districts, the threat of being primaried especially on the republican side meant that folks aren't willing to move as quickly and put themselves in this bind. i've talked to a senator just
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earlier today saying that the real fear is psychological impact. go over the cliff, deal with some of the technical problems of some of the tax issues, but still be left with a lack of confidence on the part of consumers and business and investors and really the threat that they worry about. >> can i make another point. michael is saying from a nonpartisan perspective this kind of threat in the governing process isn't working. and i'm saying from a more ideological perspective, it's bad and irresponsible to take people that make them a bargaining chip. i think the white house should say we take this sequestration cuts off the -- >> no cuts at snaul. >> but we agree there's things to be done. i have to be realistic and replace wit a new counter incentive. we have, congressional and white house and presidential salary,
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for each day we don't get it done. cut it in half and again and come up with something that puts the pressure where it should be which is on the politicians, not on everybody else. you go to parties and people watch the ball drop and wonder why we have a self-inflicted economic crisis. self inflicted. not from the markets but from the congress. >> that sounds great but i think you and i both know that's not politically feasible talking about something that's politically feasible over three to four days, what are we looking at here, michael? what at this point has the greatest chance of getting through both houses of congress? >> i mean, i think it's really hard, the people i have talked to suggest it's very hard to see what gets through. i think the closest that people get to some kind of agreement is this idea that peter alexander talked about. is there a way that john boehner finally concludes to have some smaller subset of republicans in the house combined with democrats in the house and push something through? i have to tell you that, you
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know, the political pressures on the other side and the pressure on john boehner to be the republican speaker is really intense. you know, the folks i talked to don't think that there's a high probability that that happens. >> always a pleasure. michael, ari. >> thank you for having me. >> i love it when you get fired up v. a good weekend. problem averted? dock workers that were threatening to strike and shut down ports tomorrow come to a temporary deal but could the country be facing the same problem in 30 days? we'll talk about that. plus, severe weather could be on the way to the east coast as parts of the country continue to recover from storms that crippled communities already. who may be affected this weekend? plus -- >> from father to father, president, i just ask that as a father just to consider what's happening to the families that are in process. >> couples hoping, praying to adopt russian orphans and
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pleading with russian president vladimir putin after he signs a law banning americans from adopting russians. one advocate said they're small change in a game between two states. as always, join our conversation on twitter. you can find us.
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another winter storm is moving in to parts of the country right now. 65% of this nation blanketed from snow from the last one. look at that map. a whole lot of snow in a lot of places.
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that massive system is gone but not after a foot of snow in new england. for this weekend, we turn to kelly cass. >> yes. we have another snowstorm headed in to the northeast for this final weekend of 2012. it's all starting out here in the midwest. we've got an upper level disturbance with snow from chicago to detroit and starting to see it really filling in across the upper ohio valley and also seeing the cold enough temperatures that it's going to stick. that means problems at some of the airports and on some of the roadways here, as well. traveling the new york state throughway tomorrow, it's a mess syracuse to buffalo and much of pennsylvania. we're thinking for new york city, we could get anywhere from two to four inches of snow. winter weather advisories going in to effect for a lot of areas here along the east coast and then sunday you feel that wind. it's going to be blustery and cold. doing skiing out there across the mountains, temperatures only in the teens in places like burlington, buffalo a high of 28
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degrees. and of course, with that wind it feels even worse and in the meantime, we have got the rainy side of things. even the possibility of thunderstorms along the gulf coast as the low moves offshore seeing the temperatures in the 60s, but lots of rain. watch out for occasional flooding on some of the roadways here and potential delays at the airports, as well. back to you. >> thanks to you. another down day on the markets as investors react to the stalemate in washington. plus, as the senior former president bush is in the hospital, a message one of the long-time aides, quote, put the harps back in the closet. that's just one of the things we thought you should know.
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stocks are heading lower for a fifth straight day on concerns washington will fail to reach a
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deal before year end deadline. right now, the dow, down about 90 points as you can see there. s&p, nasdaq also down. joining me live now, tyler matheson of cnbc's "power lunch." >> great to be with you. >> in the simplest of terms if no deal is reached, what does it mean for the average person who's watching us right now? >> it will mean two things. starting next week, you will get 2% less in takehome pay. that because the so-called payroll tax holiday which is one of the provisions put in place as a result of the financial melt down and the revegs will vanish. it is unlikely to be renewed. that's hit number one. hit number two, taxes on virtually everyone. no deal. will go up. if you earn between $50,000 and $75,000 a year, the average person in that income category will see their taxes go up next year by $2,400 a year. that's about $93 a paycheck if
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you're paid every other week. however, the irs has not yet told employers what the withholding rate should be so the first nibbles at the paycheck as a result of the lapsing of those so-called bush tax cuts probably won't be felt until your second, third or fourth paycheck of the year but what it means is less money in your paycheck soon. >> business confidence, consumer confidence. what's been the affect on those two things as a result of all of this? >> down. yesterday we got news that consumer sentiment has fallen off a very sharply in the month of december. as these financial talks have hit a snag. basically, a stand still. and companies, we talked to dozens of ceos here every day, really hundreds every week an all of them say that if we don't know what the rules of the road are, why reason earth would we invest in our businesses, why on earth hire new people? if we don't know what the ultimate costs are going to be.
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and so, there's a lot of stuff that could be unleashed immediately if congress would get its act together but they haven't. they cannot. it's holding back consumers. that's why spending at christmastime was evidently restrained as it was and holding back businesses, as well. >> cnbc's tyler matheson, always appreciate your perspective. >> thank you, craig. dock workers threaten to strike and shut down ports. but it didn't happen. but it could happen again. we'll talk about that. no deal in sight before the so-called fiscal cliff. coming up, an update on what if anything can be done from the ranking democrat on the house budget committee, maryland congressman chris van hollen and new information of kelly o'donnell and check out the "news nation" tumblr page. lots of behind the scenes pictures.
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we are about a half hour away now with the meeting between president obama and top leaders of both parties. joining the president and vice president, boehner, pelosi, reid and mcconnell. their goal, agree on something before the country falls off the so-called fiscal cliff in four days. kelly o'donnell joining me live now and i understand we have information on the smaller offer that you reported that the president is making this information. >> reporter: good afternoon, craig. so they're going to meet, they need something to talk about the president is prepared to put on the table what aides describe as a smaller offer. you know, they had hoped to go for something much grander but with the 11th hour deadline, they want to do something to follow the lines of what the
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president said in the briefing room before going to hawaii for the holidays. basically resetting the discussion for income rates at the threshold he originally wanted, $250,000 for couples. why that's important is because in previous conversations with speaker boehner, the president had moved off that number to something more friendly to the republican party, putting the number at about $400,000 and people thought that's where conversations would start today. democrats say, no, that's not the case because the speaker didn't have the membership vote on the $250,000 threshold. so this is about leverage, it's about negotiation. it's democrats going in to the meeting stronger they feel than what they perceive to be speaker boehner's position. republicans today talking about to me about various options they see and lots of conversations going on and certainly a spirit of willingness to get something done. can it get done? can it get done practically?
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those are the hard questions. >> yeah. after this 3:00 meeting, kelly o., will there be a document, a plan, a piece of legislation that will be carried from pennsylvania avenue to capitol hill? >> reporter: prior to the meeting, i have been told there was nothing on paper, no proposals exchanged. the meeting itself may commit some of the details to paper. perhaps through the course of their conversation. we'll have to wait to see what harry reid and speaker boehner are prepared to do if there's enough there for legislation and ultimately have to be about. a hand shake in a room does not resolve this. we expect to hear from the leaders after the meeting and a sense of the tone and certainly say in the last year or so, the mood was an expectation of going past the cliff. today, maybe it's friday, maybe it's the pressure from the public. there seems to be a greater optimism and willingness to keep working at this and to get closer. we can hope. >> before i let you go, two things to impact significant number of people watching,
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potentially. the extension of unemployment benefits and the extension of the payroll tax holiday. will those two things be a part of this deal? >> the expectation at this point is, yes. the president wants to see the unemployment benefits for those who have been out of work the longest extended and the other things that expire at the end of the year and payroll tax would be included in that. that's 2% in the paycheck right away so the president's goal to keep as much the same as it is now for as many as he can. republicans have different views about what to do long term. all those big conversations seem to not be what's going to happen at 3:00. think smaller. think deadline and maybe they can get there. >> all right. kelly o'donnell for us there, following and tracking the latest developments in this story that continues to evolve. just over the past few hours. want to try to get some more insight on this new smaller offer that president obama will apparently be making at his meeting with congressional leaders again in about 30 minutes. joining me now for that,
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democratic congressman chris van hollen. congressman, how can we characterize how you're feeling about the new smaller offer? >> well, melvin, i'm feeling much more optimistic before we learned about the meeting between the president and congressional leaders. i think the president will put on the table a proposal, somewhat along the lines that kelly was talking about. i don't think anybody knows the details and probably won't until after the meeting and then the question will be whether they can actually flesh that out, put it in the legislative form and get it past the house and the senate in time before, you know, we have the midnight strikes on new year's eve. >> so let's talk about this $250,000 threshold. as kelly o. mentioned, at one point the president said he would be willing to move to $400,000 and some talk as going to $500,000 and now back to $250,000. why the change?
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>> well, the president has said he would be willing to look at the $400,000 level in the context of a much larger agreement that resolved lots of issues. first of all, that agreement would have had $1.2 trillion in additional revenue coming in. whatever agreement is reached, if one is reached on a smaller package, you wouldn't get that amount of revenue and so the president says, you know, let's go back to the original provision. the president wanted to deal with the debt ceiling which is a major new issue that we're going to confront in a couple of weeks. republicans have said they don't want to deal with that in the context of this agreement so there are lots of things republicans said they don't want to do and would have been part of the earlier agreement. and so i think the president is saying, let's go back to a smaller scaled down deal but the threshold be set where he had originally planned. >> i want your take on something else and my friend brought this up at the top of the broadcast
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and others have sort of expressed similar frustration that you guys, and not to lump you all in the same group, but 435 congressmen and the white house and the senate thought it would be a good idea to create a scenario that would be so unthinkable, so unfathomable that you guys would have to work together to avoid it before it happened. here we are, four days from doomsday if you will and you guys haven't been able to figure this thing out. why not? >> well, you're exactly right about how this was set up. it came in two different pieces. the taxes and then the across the board sequester cuts. the big issue all along has been whether we take the kind of balanced approach to dealing with our long-term deficit that our president talked about and campaigned on saying that in addition to these cuts, we need additional revenues from higher income earners because if you don't ask folks at the very top
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to contribute a little bit more toward deficit reduction then everybody else is hit harder so the president called for shared responsibility. and until now, and we're four days out now, republicans in the house have refused to ask folks at the very top to contribute one penny more as you know. speaker boehner put forward an idea to say, well, let's ask folks making over a million dollars a year to pay a little bit more. his own caucus said no to their speaker. and until our republican colleagues recognize that a balanced plan would require higher income individuals to share a little bit more on the responsibility, then we're in trouble. and that -- hopefully we'll see a breakthrough on that by the end of the day. >> chris van hollen, from the who will, how many of your colleagues are with you already? >> i wish speaker boehner kept
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us in the house. >> ' i'm on the senate side. we should be right here with four days to go before the fiscal cliff strikes. >> all right. always a pleasure. thank you, sir. >> good to be with you. major break today in negotiations between dock workers and port operators puts off at least for now a port strike that would have shut down nearly all shipping traffic along the east and gulf coast. a federal mediator says that the union and group representing the shipping lines agreed to a 30-day contract extension narrowly averting the sunday strike deadline. business groups warn that the economic impact of such a work stoppage is disaster. joining me is nbc's ron mott. for folks not following the story, how did we get here? >> reporter: folks haven't because they're paying attention to the fiscal cliff. this was lurking in the shadows and today moved the ball down the field for 30 days and may be talking about a strike again in
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30 days but the big issue here was this so-called container royalty that the shipping companies pay to the union members who actually the guys and men and women offloading the big ships and the containers with things like tvs and shoes and clothing, they get a royalty based on the weight of all of those containers and the shipping companies are looking to try to control costs and increase their profits and the biggest sticking point. in the agreement that they have announced today for the 30-day extension they're saying they reached agreement in principle on the royalties which was the biggest stumbling block here so i think it's probably safe to say in 30 days to button up all the little issues here, minor issues, secondary issues and move forward with a new contract going forward. >> so, for now, crisis averted? >> a lot of people breathing a sigh of relief. >> business groups appealing to the white house at one point to intervene. to what extent has the administration been involved? >> we spoke with them yesterday
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than released a statement saying that the white house said we'll let the federal mediator continue to do his job and try to get the two sides together and the white house not prepared to do more than that. the last strike we had about 11 years ago on the west coast. these two groups have two different agreements. the west coast and gulf coast ports operate separately. there was a ten-day strike 11 years ago disruptive and predicting if these guys strike on the east and gulf coast costing about a billion dollars a day to the economy, even so two or three-day strike with huge impacts. these royalties are critical to the families. $15,000 a year bonuses if you will. and that's significant income that they don't want to lose. >> all right. thank you, sir. >> you bet. heart break and anxiety of hundreds of parents as russia's president signs a bill banning americans from adopting children from that country. we're going to hear from some parents whose dreams could be
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russian president vladimir putin today signed in to law a bill that bans adoptions of russian orphans by americans. over the last two decades, tens of thousands of russian children adopted to parents in this country, more than any other country but that will come to an end. nbc's michelle kaczynski has more on that. ♪ >> reporter: like any proud parents, americans posting their stories of adopting russian children, showing their happiness on the internet. >> so we're leaving. >> reporter: ann and curt from
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atlanta rushed in 2007 overjoyed to adopt ben. >> you have gotten to be a big boy. >> with a headful of hair. >> i know. like daddy's. >> reporter: a relationship that took nearly a year to get started. >> a million pieces of paper. it's -- you laugh about it but it is quite an intensive process. >> reporter: now, at home, ben just turned 7. very much an all-american boy. >> how about some milk? >> i hate milk. >> you hate milk. >> reporter: celebrating the holidays. last christmas aadopted a second russian child and prepared to work through the sticky wheels of bureaucracy again and now politics threatening to derail the dream entirely. russian president vladimir putin angry about a new american law targeting russian human rights violators today banned all adoptions to america. some russian lawmakers have been trumpeting the cases of which kids were hurt in the states like one in virginia four years
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ago when a child died after accidentally left in a hot car. though the father was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter. >> there really is a great irony here in that america speaks out against human rights violations in russia and then russia sort of responds by potentially denying many thousands of russian orphans the most basic right of all which is a loving, permanent family. >> reporter: right now the family is waiting for a sibling for ben. the russian government has to invite them to meet a child to adopt and they're worried. >> now with this new development, it could all come to a screeching halt. >> just from father to father, president putin, i just ask that as a father, just to consider what's happening to the families that are in process. let us at least go through the process and bring home our children. >> that was michelle reporting there. another person pushed in front of a new york city subway tops the look at stories around the "news nation" today.
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there's video of a woman they say pushed the man in front of a train last night. there she is right there. the victim was killed. witnesses telling police that the woman had been following the man and mumbling under her breath moments before. earlier this month, police say a man was pushed and killed in front of another new york train. a 30-year-old man is charged with murder that case. three police officers of new jersey are in the hospital recovering today after being shot inside a police station this morning. police say the suspect was being processed for domestic incident when he grabbed the gun and started shooting and he was shot and killed by police. in china, aging parents will be seeing probably a lot more of their adult children. a newly amended law allows parents to take the kids to court if they feel like they're being neglected or abandoned. however, the amendment does not specify how often the visits should happen.
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some live pictures right now from the white house where, again, in a few minutes a meeting will happen between president obama and congressional leaders. vice president joe biden will be there. they're trying to figure out how to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. not a lot of hope of a deal at this point but some argue because the reason is because neither side has an incentive for a deal. do you buy that theory? it's our "news nation" gut check today. you can join us. we are on facebook. there's the address. [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso. in what world do potatoes, bacon and cheese add up to 100 calories? your world. ♪ [ whispers ] real bacon... creamy cheese... 100 calories... [ chef ] ma'am [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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there's a lot going on this last friday of 2012. here's some of the things we thought you should know. tributes continue to come in for general norman schwarzkopf and nick nated stormin' norman for
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that legendary temper. he died yesterday in tampa of complications of pneumonia. he's credited for the plan that drove saddam hussein's forces out of kuwait during the first gulf war. president obama said in part, quote, we have lost an american original. general schwarzkopf stood fall for the country and army he loved. former president george h.w. bush the commander in chief during the first gulf war issuing a statement from his hospital bed in houston saying, barbara and i mourn the loss of a true american patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation. more than that, he was a good and decent man and a dear friend. as for the former president, his spokesman said in just the past hour, he is in intensive care but continues to improve. the 88-year-old former president's been in the hospital since november 23rd. he was moved to the intensive
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care unit last sunday after what was described as a series of setbacks including a persistent fever n. a statement, chief of staff said, quote, is he sick, yes? does he plan on going anywhere any time soon? no. every intention of staying put. he would ask me to tell you to put please put the harps back in the closet. those are just a few of the things we thought you should know. we continue, of course, to follow the developing news of washington d.c. not a grand bargain but sources telling nbc news that president obama is prepared to offer congressional leaders a smaller deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff behind closed doors at the white house. i want to bring in white house correspondent kristen welker. >> reporter: i'm told pelosi and boehner left to come to the
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white house. in terms of the smaller deal, we have heard it would include a provision to extend the bush 'ra tax cuts for those making $250,000 or less and let them expire for those more than $250,000 and something that president obama has been calling for for a long time. it would also extend unemployment insurance benefits and stave off some of those deep spending cut that is are set to go in to effect and essentially mirrors what president obama outlined when he addressed the nation before leaving for the what ryan holiday. white house officials being very tight lipped of what specifically the president is going to do and will not confirm to put this smaller deal on the table so i think we're going to have to wait until the meeting wraps up for the specifics but speaking to republican aides with the house who say that this still rests with the senate, that republicans in the house are waiting to see what the senate will do before they weigh in on a deal that may or may not be offered today so really, craig, the ball in the senate's
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court. >> all right. thanks to you. today's "news nation gut check. the fiscal cliff specifically an article today of "why they want to go over the cliff." there's the article. he writes in part, for many republicans a cliff dive is blaming president obama for a big tax hike in the short term and then voting to cut taxes for most americans next month. for democrats, better than setting a rich man's cutoff in the million dollar range or extending tax cuts for all earners and slashing entitlem t entitlements to appease republicans. what does your gut tell you? do they want to go off the fiscal cliff? go to facebook.com/newsnation to vote. that does it for us. i'm craig melvin in for tamron hall. "the cycle" up next and go skins.
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News Nation
MSNBC December 28, 2012 11:00am-12:00pm PST

News/Business. Tamron Hall. Tamron Hall provides context and informed perspectives on the stories making headlines. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Boehner 10, Obama 6, Citi 4, Washington 4, Kelly O'donnell 4, John Boehner 4, America 4, Russia 3, Pennsylvania 3, Joe Biden 3, Medicare 3, Vladimir Putin 3, Peter Alexander 3, Chris Van Hollen 3, Ben 2, Kentucky 2, China 2, Buffalo 2, New York 2, Mitch Mcconnell 2
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